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As is the case with many countries around the world, online gambling is currently in a state of uncertainty in India. In a vast nation of over 1.3 billion people that boasts in excess of 600 million people online, online gambling operators and developers see a lot of opportunity in India. This thinking is further supported by the fact that there is a large online gambling audience in India already, despite the current state of gambling laws.
Technically, online gambling is prohibited across India, but the statutes which are currently applied to the industry can be both unclear and outdated. However, there have been moves made by significant parties in India to change the way that the laws on gambling are applied.
The state of gambling laws in India
With regards to gambling, all gaming and betting laws are enacted as state legislation by each state government. Two statutes have control over gambling in India: the Indian Constitution 1950 and the Public Gambling Act 1867. Despite the 1950 Constitution, many states presided to adopt the 1867 Act while others created their own gambling acts that were modelled on the 1867 Act.
This has resulted in the state of gambling across India being somewhat varied from legislation to legislation, but very little by way of modern law. The archaic provisions of the statutes and any amendments made thereafter are considered to be extended to apply to the online space, as explained by ICLG, a provider of international comparative legal guides. Only three of India’s 29 states and seven union territories – Nagaland, Sikkim, and Telangana – have specifically enacted laws which apply to online gambling, and they merely extend the application of current gambling laws to the online space.
The gambling laws of the majority of states and union territories exclude games of skill as a form of gambling, without detailing such games, and generally prohibit people from gambling for profit gain. The standing laws expressly prohibit anyone from being in or a part of any premises where gambling games are played for profit gain. While it is being tested on its value as a game of skill instead of gambling, poker is legal in many parts of India due to it being considered a game of skill.
There are some exceptions, however, with the states of Goa, Daman, and Sikkim all allowing land-based or floating casinos. In 2010, Sikkim attempted to start up the first regulated online gambling space in India by offering three gambling licences to operators willing to accept their terms. Despite the huge market and interest from local and foreign operators, Sikkim failed to grant any licences as a part of this plan. To this day, Indian states do not licence or regulate online gambling, with the activity effectively deemed to be illegal by all measures of the law.
The state of play in India
Regardless of the archaic and dismissive nature of state law in India, online gambling is a hugely popular pastime across the nation. Sports betting takes precedence, with betting on cricket and horse racing being the most popular; casino gaming is also a much-enjoyed activity among the internet population of India. Without any regulation or licensing body, it’s difficult to gauge the value of the online gambling market in India, but many estimates put the entire gambling market to be worth over $60 billion potentially.
Foreign iGaming operators have already discovered the market, offering their services across the country with playing options catered to Indians, including the use of the Indian rupee. To truly show the scope and instated draw of the Indian online gambling audience, even third-party services cater their offering to the Indian public, as shown by SlotCatalog, which provides comprehensive analytics of online slot games, offering specific information on games pertaining to Indian gamers.
The future of gambling in India
As reported by Medianama, a source of analysis for digital businesses in India, the All India Gaming Federation approached the Bharatiya Janta Party and Indian National Congress ahead of the 2019 elections, suggesting that legislation to regulate the online gambling space should be included in their manifestos. Formally regulating online gambling under a centralised authority in a nation that’s as big and gambling-savvy as India would generate substantial tax revenue, create jobs, and aid in the battle against money laundering and match-fixing.
Given the potential size of the online gambling audience already present in India, a tax rate in a regulated Indian online gambling space of between 15 to 30 per cent could yield the nation upwards of $1 billion from the get-go. That said, some jurisdictions are fighting against the increasingly embracing nature of India towards gambling, with Gujarat seeking to ban online gambling in its entirety within the state. The westernmost state has already banned non-gambling video games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and has implemented some laws which prohibit land-based and online gambling.
Gujarat appears to be an outlier as much of India sees the potential of its online gambling market. The process has been stagnant thus far, but moves are being made to bring about a regulated online gambling space in India, it just depends on governments following through with effective lawmaking.
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)